What Your GRE Scores Say About You

Are you preparing for GRE? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

If you want to enter graduate school or business school in the United States and Canada, passing the Graduate Record Examination or GRE is an essential step you should take. This test is a standardized, multiple-choice exam is a prerequisite for admission to many graduate and business programs globally. If you want to find resources to help you prepare for the GRE, you can compare prep courses here.

The GRE is given online. It's administered to provide graduate and business schools with common measures to compare applicants' qualifications and preparedness for graduate-level academic work.

What To Expect When Taking The GRE?

The exam measures your knowledge of basic mathematical subjects like arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. There's also a section to test your grasp of data analysis and college-level vocabulary. You'll receive scores on the sections listed below:

1. Analytical Writing
2. Verbal Reasoning
3. Quantitative Reasoning

The first section is scored from zero to six in half-point increments. The second and third sections are scored on a 130 to 170 scale.


What Is A Good GRE Score?

There's no one concrete answer as to what's considered as great GRE scores. How you evaluate your own GRE score depends on the post-graduate programs you want to enter. The GRE General Test is used for a wide range of graduate and business school programs, and the relative weight it's given also varies from school to school. In general, many degree programs favor the 50th and 60th percentile. This means that you have a better score than 50 to 60 percent of all the GRE applicants.

How To Get Good GRE Scores?

Even applicants living outside the US and Canada prepare so much to get their chosen program's required GRE score. There are tons of benefits of post-graduate studies abroad; so, they take time to do some research and hone their skills to get into their chosen universities.

GRE score percentiles vary from each section. There's no established formula to achieve the GRE score that hits the 50th or 60th percentile. However, one can expect that if you get a score of 150, you get 46th percentile in Verbal Reasoning. For Quantitative Reasoning, you need to achieve a score slightly higher than 150 as a 153 score in this section accounts for the 49th percentile rank. If you want to achieve higher scores like going to the 60th percentile, you need to perform better and achieve higher scores.

You might wonder, is there such thing as bad GRE scores? Essentially, bad scores are those that don't measure up to the requirements of the major or school that you're planning to get into. In general, the bottom 10% of applicants tend to get scores below 141 in Quantitative Reasoning and below 140 in Verbal Reasoning. This is why it's better to aim for a score higher than the averages or the minimum requirement given by each school or major.

What Does Your Score Say About You?

Passing the GRE gives you a competitive advantage when entering graduate or business schools. Here are some of the things that your GRE score says about you to potential universities and employers:

  • Having a good score in Quantitative Reasoning means that you have a good ability to solve problems using mathematical models. You're good at data analysis, geometry, algebra, and arithmetic. Many employers look at this as it's the main attribute they're looking for in a job candidate. Having good scores in this section tells the school and future employers that you pay attention to details and can think critically.
  • If you performed well in Verbal Reasoning, this means that you have good reading comprehension skills. When evaluators assess your answers, they hope to get a sense of how well you handle and understand heavy academic texts. They're trying to see if you will be able to comprehend texts given in the graduate level. They will check how you understand the author's message and how you perceive information that will not lead to faulty research attitude. Passing this section means you have a good grasp and understanding of intent, assumptions, and perspective on a written text. This is also a useful skill many employers look for in a candidate.
  • If you have good scores in Analytical Writing, this means that you can effectively communicate your ideas in writing. Analytical Writing section aims to test two different skills: how you analyze and issue and how you analyze an argument. They test your ability to articulate and defend a certain issue. They also test your ability to deconstruct faulty reasoning and find ways on how you can improve the argument.

The skills are critical, both in graduate studies and in a working environment. When you have a high Analytical Writing score, it means that you're a strong writer and you're not swayed by other people's ambiguous statements easily.

Many applicants may believe their GRE score reflects their capabilities, skills, and intelligence. In truth, there's no direct relationship between your GRE score and your IQ. The point of taking the GRE is not to measure your intelligence, but to measure your readiness for graduate studies.

Your GRE score will help schools determine if you can pass the subjects in a program or if you're most likely to succeed and graduate at the end of your term. Schools don't want to invest in students who cannot catch up with the subjects and activities relating to the program because it's a waste of resources. If you passed the program's requirements in your chosen school, this means that you're already ready for post-grad studies, and you have a higher chance of completing the program soon.


Your GRE score is an accurate predictor of how successful you'll be in your post-graduate or business education. Standardized tests like the GRE provide schools with useful information for predicting student performance across many disciplines. Your GRE scores also tell you more about your analytical and quantitative reasoning skills which are essential in succeeding, whether in your chosen career or graduate school.

If you want to enter the country's best graduate schools, you need to prepare for the exam. Being consistent in taking prep classes and exercising these skills will increase your chances of having better GRE scores. By improving your scores, you also improve your skills that are useful not only in graduate school but also in any work setting.

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

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